About me

I took my first tentative steps into my family’s past in 1996.  Back then, not much was available online, and my subscriptions to genealogy sites were monthly, timed to coincide with winter evenings when I had more time to spend at the computer.  Then, gradually, more and more records came online and I was hooked.  These days my bookshelves are full of genealogy texts, record-finding guides, local and social history publications and even historic novels relevant to cities, towns and villages where my ancestors lived.  Weekends away are tweaked to include ancestral places of interest, and I’ve even stayed at a pub/B&B formerly owned by my 3x great grandparents.

I’m now commencing the final year of the Pharos / Society of Genealogists , having achieved Distinctions across the board for year one.  In 2018 I achieved the Family History Skills & Strategies intermediate course with Distinction.  I’m a lifelong learner and a qualified and experienced writer, lecturer and trainer of adults. Although my previous qualifications at Higher Education level have not been in history, my previous studies in Family Law, Land Law, Trusts and Criminal Law as part of my Law degree (LLB Hons) have come in very handy, while research and information skills were developed through a degree in French & Spanish (MA Hons), and a Masters in Politics (MSc Econ).

Now, all of those interests, together with my passion for social justice, history and politics have found their home in genealogy, where I love researching the stories of ‘ordinary people’.  Drawing upon local and social history, the law and the British history learned in high school, what fascinates me is the impact on the many of those big, important decisions taken by the few.

In this blog I share hints and tips about genealogical practice, alongside some finds relating to my areas of genealogical interest but hopefully of wider general appeal, and the odd story from my own ancestry.To find out what genealogy means to me, click here.
To learn why this blog focuses on English ancestors, click here.

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My own special research interests include:

  • Leeds from the 17th to 19th centuries
  • The Lucas family in Leeds
  • Nonconformity in Yorkshire
  • The Simondsons of Wharfedale
  • Guild society in the City of York
  • The impact of the Industrial Revolution on tradesmen and their families
  • The Bumby family of Wharfedale and Thirsk
  • Textiles: I have tailors, clothiers, dyers, silk, linen and woollen weavers. I’m looking for cotton workers to give me the full set!